AR and VR For 2021: Announcements by Facebook Show Renewed Interest Amid COVID-19 Lockdowns

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According to Social Media Today Facebook is picking up the pace with AR and VR again, and that could be partly due to pandemic restrictions on movement. Project Aria is the name behind Facebook's new smart glasses which staff at the social media giant are now experimenting with. Availability to the general population of Facebook users is expected next year. Facebook says:

"Imagine a pair of glasses that add a 3D layer of useful, contextually-relevant and meaningful information on top of the physical world. Such a device could help us perform everyday tasks better -- like finding your keys, navigating a new city, or capturing a moment; but it could also open up an entirely new way of moving through the world."

After that, Facebook plans to make consumer AR glasses available, in partnership with EssilorLuxottica, who also manufacture Ray-Ban glasses. That's expected to produce a range of smart glasses with the Ray-Ban brand, and they too will arrive in 2021, combining innovative tech with "fashion-forward" looks.

Latest Version of Oculus Quest VR Headset Gets October 2020 Release

Oculus Quest 2 represents Facebook's VR focus. VR has seen increased demand during COVID-19 and Facebook has ramped up its work in the area as a result. The company has unveiled a new VR headset generation and that's set for release next month. In addition, Facebook will plough more investment into its third-party AR development program for Messenger and work harder on its Portal smart speaker too:

"Oculus Quest changed the game for wireless VR. It delivered fresh experiences for enthusiasts and new opportunities for developers, all while introducing immersive gaming to newcomers across the globe. Today, we're excited to announce Oculus Quest 2, the next generation of all-in-one VR. Every month, more than 600 million people use Spark AR across Facebook and Instagram. More than 400,000 creators from over 190 countries have published Spark AR effects for Facebook and Instagram. Together, they've published over 1.2 million AR effects to date. And beginning next year, we'll open up Portal and Messenger to Spark AR creator publishing, giving more people fun new ways to connect."
Facebook aims to provide more AR effects for users on the back of the success of its 'Which Disney Character Are You?' and '2020 Predictions' effects which both enjoyed viral attention earlier in 2020.

Virtual Try-ons for Furniture and Make-up in Instagram

New developments mean users will now also be able to create effects when using Messenger and Portal. Facebook has also shared a preview of AR ads for Insta which will allow users to do 'virtual try-ons' with make-up products advertised via the platform, as well as see what furniture items would look like in their living rooms.

It doesn't stop there. On the news front, Facebook is also embarking on a partnership with the New York Times:

"To get the partnership off the ground, The Times has built a dedicated "AR Lab" team within its research and development unit of more than a dozen employees. [...] The first few filters from the launch series will include visual interactive pieces tied to the centennial of women's suffrage, coverage of the California wildfires and air quality during the COVID-19 lockdown, as displayed in the picture above."
#2021 #amid #announcements #covid19 #facebook #interest #lockdowns #renewed #show
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Stanley
    Slowly but surely it seems like VR is growing its adoption.

    I share the opinion of others that VR needs 1) superior hardware (less grainy, superior motion tracking, etc.), 2) more content, and 3) better ecosystem interoperability ... in order to really graduate beyond "niche", and it seems like Oculus 2 makes some strides at least on #1.
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